Miscellaneous Projects Page
A place for all my geeky projects, hacks and pastimes that aren't easily categorized

My home-made Seed Logs. How I make home-made seed cylinders for feeding birds.

Pre-made seed cylinders or logs are very expensive, but bird seed is dirt cheap. So I figured out how to make my own home-made seed logs using bird seed and inexpensive materials and ingredients. It's so easy. Once you know the secret you'll never pay for seed logs again. Click here to see the project.

My new CNC router project has been completed!
I decided I needed a better and more accurate CNC router than my old "Woodpile CNC" machine. I planned on making it (almost) entirely from metal, and mostly using 80/20 components. 80/20 is billed as the industrial "Erector Set", because you can build almost anything from the standardized parts just by bolting them together. It made the build a lot easier.

This video shows most of the steps in the construction of the machine. It is about 47 minutes long. I have a companion web page for this project that goes into more detail about the construction that didn't make it into the video. It also clarifies things that may not have obvious or easily understandable in the video.

Click here to see more of this project.

The completed air abrasive blast cabinet. An air abrasive blast cabinet
My stepson Joe needed an air abrasive blast cabinet. He preps fossils, mainly fossil fish from the Green River Formation of Wyoming. He uses fine air abrasive tools to remove the matrix and expose the fossils. It's kind of like sand-blasting, but not as aggressive. However, it is every bit as messy as sand-blasting, and as rough on the lungs. Joe was tired of having to do it outside while wearing a respirator. He wanted a proper blast cabinet that he could work in inside his workshop. It's a project we have been talking about for a while. We finally all had the time to come together and build it. Check it out.

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A walking desk for exercising while working
Here is a fun and easy project I put together quickly and inexpensively. It is the Walking Desk. Standing desks are all the rage these days. They supposedly have a lot of health benefits vs sitting on our butts at a traditional desk. My problem is that my feet get sore and tired when I stand in one place for too long, but if I am moving, I can stay on my feet pretty much all day. So I decided to make myself a walking desk out of an old thrift store treadmill and some pre-finished shelving. I spend a lot of time each day on the computer. Now I can do it while walking. It gets me out of my desk chair, helps my circulation, keeps me active, and the extra exercise might even help me lose some more weight. Walking slowly on a flat surface is good for most activities. It takes a little practice to get good at typing and mousing while walking. For less interactive things like watching Youtube videos or just reading, I can walk faster, or even increase the incline of the treadmill to increase the effort. Check out the video. You might even want to make a walking desk yourself.

Building a heavy-duty workbench
This is a very popular project I built a few years back. Everyone needs a good workbench. I built mine using inexpensive and easy to find materials. It is seriously strong too. You could park a truck on it if you wanted to. I made a video as I built it to show the materials needed and how it all went together. Don't feel that you need to follow my plans exactly. You could make it shorter or taller, or put the shelf at a different height, or omit it completely. Another popular option that some people copying this bench go with is adding heavy-duty locking casters to it to make it easier to move around. anyway, if you are in need of a sturdy workbench, check out the video.

How I built a home-made swamp cooler for my remote, off-grid cabin. A home-built swamp cooler for my remote Arizona cabin
I finally got around to posting a write-up on how I built a home-made swamp cooler for my remote, off-grid cabin in Arizona. It was a quick, easy and inexpensive build, using easy to find parts, and it works great to keep the temperature inside the cabin comfy on hot days. Check it out.

Click the photo to see the project.

My home-built vacuum forming set-up. My home-built vacuum forming set-up.
I needed to make a whole lot of identical parts. I had been making them one at a time. Eventually I realized I was doing it the hard way, and came up with something better. Vacuum Forming! It allows me to make duplicates of parts quickly, easily, and cheaply.

I built this vacuum forming rig in an afternoon and was up and running very quickly. Check out how I did it.

Click to go to the project.

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A Raspberry Pi based all in one computer. Here is a neat project I just completed.
It is a Raspberry Pie based all in one computer. It was easy and fun to build. It neatens up my Raspberry Pi computer, and makes experimenting with it a lot easier. It looks quite sleek and professional too, if I do say so myself. Check it out.

Click to go to the project.

My Home-Built Biomass Gasifier. My Home-Built Biomass Gasifier.
A biomass gasifier is a chemical reactor that converts wood, or other biomass substances, into a combustible gas that can be burned for heating, cooking, or for running an internal combustion engine.

Click here to see more.

My Home-Built Ballmill or rock tumbler. My Home-Built Ballmill.
A super simple home-built ballmill for thoroughly grinding, crushing and mixing materials and chemicals. It could also be used as an ore crusher or a rock tumbler. It was easy and cheap to build.

Click here to see more.

My Home-Built kiln ramp/soak controller. My Home-Built Ramp/Soak Kiln Controller.
An 8-segment ramp/soak kiln controller I use to control my kilns for casting my own telescope mirrors. Glass working requires fare more precise and critical control of the kiln temperature than firing ceramics. So I designed and built a very precise kiln controller.

Click here to see more.

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My Improvised Generator. My Improvised Generator.
An improvised DC generator built from an old lawn edger and a permanent magnet DC motor. The inspiration behind this generator was to have a cheap way to charge up my battery banks on days when the weather is cloudy and calm, and my solar panels and wind turbine aren't providing much energy.

Click here to see more.

My new solar / wind charge controller design. A New and Improved Charge Controller Design.
This is a project I have been working on for a while. I wanted to re-design The charge controller I use with my wind turbine and solar panels because of the huge volume of emails I get from people who are having problems trying to build a copy of the controller. I wanted to simplify the charge controller circuit, lower the part count, and use easier to find parts. I think I succeeded on all counts. Check it out.

Click to see more.

Making My Own Soap. Making My Own Soap.
I've been making my own soap for quite a while now. I love my soap. Check out the recipe. You might like it too.

Click here to see the recipe.

Repairing the temperature and compass display in my Toyota Tacoma. Repairing the temperature and compass display in my Toyota Tacoma.
Failure of this display unit seems to be a fairly common problem. Repair or replacement costs can be astronomical. Doing it yourself can save you a bundle. If you have this problem, check out the fix.

Click here to see more.

My Quick and Easy Car Laptop Tray My Quick and Easy Car Laptop Tray.
How I built an inexpensive laptop / notebook computer tray for my Toyota Tacoma Pickup. It was easy. You can do it too. This project ought to be adaptable to any vehicle with a center console cup holder.

Click here to see more.

Cutting Circles out of Glass. Cutting Circles out of Glass. I needed to learn how to cut circles out of glass to make my laminated telescope mirror blanks. I actually had to learn how to do it twice, because the technique is different for thin and thick glass. Once I figured it out, I made some videos to show others how to do it. They can be found a short way down the blank making page.

Click here to see more.

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My Home-Built Pen Plotter. I built this pen plotter using slides and motors from old, junked printers. My plan was to add a third axis to it and make it a 3D printer, but I never got that far. It is still sitting on a corner of my workbench, gathering dust. Someday I may complete the third axes and build a plastic extruder for it. Other projects and priorities keep intervening though.

Here is a video of the plotter in action.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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